Friday, March 20, 2009

What's the big deal about chickens in the back yard?

It is a big deal. Town by town, governments have legislated whether or not homeowners can have livestock in their yards. No cows in the front yard. No herds of goats chatting noisily over the backyard fence. No roosters crowing before sunrise. No pet pony happily clopping down the street with smallfry on board.

As is usual with omnibus legislation, one size does not fit all. Take chickens, for example. A family with 2 or 3 chickens in a coop behind a fence in the backyard can have plenty of fresh eggs. Add a vegetable garden, and you get self-sufficient sustainability at its best. Chickens make less noise than that barky lab protesting every human, cat, and squirrel walking past its domain and are just as clean as a well tended kennel. (And no, you don't need a rooster to get eggs.)

There's a guy in Roswell who has to go to court because the town code prohibits ALL livestock and some Pharisee complained because IT'S AGAINST THE RULES. The three chickens he hand feeds and tends to in a well built, modest coop are illegal. With yolk-yellow hat on head and fellow chicken coopers in tow, he headed to court, only to have his hearing postponed while the town council thinks things through. (For comic relief, former governor and presentday gadfly Roy Barnes is representing the guy.)

Decatur is a model for sustainability. Vegetable gardens abound, people can walk throughout the community, and there's even an upcoming "coop tour" hosted by the Oakhurst Community Garden for people interested in setting up their own fresh egg station in the back yard. There are few towns more urban than Decatur, tucked right alongside the city of Atlanta. But they're nurturing self-sufficiency and sustainability with equanimity.

I'd like the city of Dunwoody to clarify our own legislation, to specifically allow a few chickens in a fenced back yard (no roosters necessary).


1 comment:

  1. I live in Dunwoody and I would like to have chickens :-) Thanks for the note.


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